Tip: Dragon Flag Progressions

Much more than a cool-looking core exercise, the dragon flag will even strengthen your glutes and lower back. Follow these progressions.

Like many great exercises, performing a proper dragon flag takes practice. You might even need to do some remedial work before you're ready for it. Begin by working on straight leg raises while lying on your back. Go slowly and don't swing your legs or allow your lower back to arch.

When you reach the point where you can do multiple reps without losing form, you're ready to work on the dragon flag. Start by practicing the negative (lowering) phase of the dragon flag first. Kick up into the vertical position, and then try to lower your body down as slowly as possible.

Once you get confident with negatives, try doing a static hold at the bottom with your body hovering an inch or two over the bench. When you can hold this position for 2-3 seconds, you're ready to start working on full dragon flags.

The progression should look something like this:

  • Week 1: Lying leg raises 3-5 sets x 10-15 reps
  • Week 2: Lying leg raises 3-5 sets x 15-25 reps
  • Week 3: Dragon flag negatives 3-5 sets x 3-5 reps
  • Week 4: Dragon flag negatives with static hold at the bottom 3-5 sets x 3-5 reps
  • Week 5: Full dragon flags 3-5 sets x 3-5 reps
  • Week 6: Full dragon flags 3-5 sets x 10 reps

While some will be ready to jump in at week 5 or 6, others will need to stick with each phase for longer than two weeks. Progress doesn't occur at the same rate for everyone, but if you're patient and persistent, your day will come.

Al Kavadlo is one of the world’s leading experts in bodyweight strength training and calisthenics. The author of several bestselling books, including Get Strong and Street Workout. He is also known for his appearance in the popular Convict Conditioning book series. Al is currently the lead instructor for the Progressive Calisthenics Certification (PCC), where he brings his unique coaching style to fitness trainers and enthusiasts around the globe. Follow Al Kavadlo on Facebook